The honeymoon is over. Not in the “we’ve started making passive-aggressive comments veiled as harmlessly sarcastic observations” sense, but rather in the sense that The Runner and I are back from our honeymoon.
The truth is, what we called a “honeymoon,” many people would have called an intense five-day training camp. Hard hikes, long runs, mountain biking, and road biking. And a lot of Mexican food (we weren’t in Mexico; we both just like Mexican food).
It was perfect. And I have many stories to tell.
But today — because I’m still feeling all lovey-dovey — I’m going to talk about the oddities I’ve recently learned about when cyclists make a love connection.
If you ride a bike for enough years, it permanently warps your sense of fashion. This happens in stages.
- Revulsion. When you first start riding, you find cycling clothes off-putting. The jerseys are too tight, and the colors are ridiculous. The shorts are obscene, and the chamois, well, it makes you look foolish and awkward.
- Acceptance. After a time, you realize that bright jerseys help motorists see you, the polyester wicks sweat pretty well, the tight fit keeps the jersey from flapping in the wind or inflating like a kite, and those tight lycra shorts — chamois and all — do a good job of keeping your legs from chafing and don’t get in the way of your ride.
- Enjoyment. After riding long enough, you begin to associate the pleasure of cycling with the clothes you wear while cycling, and somehow your head makes you think that you actually like the clothes themselves.
To this commonly-accepted (even though I just made it up) progression, I would add a fourth step: Attraction. Specifically, I have — a number of times — told The Runner that my favorite look for her is when she’s suited up for a ride: hair in a ponytail poking through the back of her helmet, no makeup at all, shorts, jersey, biking socks and shoes on.
Oh, and I dig the fingerless gloves, too.
The Runner, as near as I can tell, does not believe that I am telling the truth, but I swear I am. My thinking is that people look their best when they are dressed to look like their true selves — in The Runner’s case, as an athlete (i.e., she looks just as good when suited up to run).
I can’t be the only one who thinks this way. Can I get an “amen” from guys who think their women (or women in general) look their hottest when on a bike?
And as for you women, well. The Runner, on a group ride a couple weeks ago, confided to me, “There are five guys in tight shorts with extremely nice butts, right in front of me. I love road rides.”
To which I responded, “You are not allowed to ride with men, ever again. Ever.”
Impressing the Opposite Sex
This part is not really unique to cycling, but as a 43.75-year old man, I would have thought I’d be immune to it. Turns out I’m not.
The part I’m referring to is, of course, the male impulse to do something stupid, in the hopes that a particular female will not think it’s stupid, but rather that it’s awesomely sexy and stuff.
I wonder if that has ever worked?
In any case, I bring this up because last Friday, The Runner and I arrived in St. George in the early afternoon, and found — to our surprise — that it was sunny and warm outside. We quickly made our way to the Bear Claw Poppy trail (which means, I think, that this trail was named after a couple of different kinds of pastries).
Neither of us had ever ridden the trail before; both of us were on singlespeeds. I led out, and shortly came upon a group of guys with big-hit full suspension rigs, all looking down at the approach to a drop. Another from their group were at the edge of the drop, looking over. I could not see what was beyond that edge.
Nobody was going.
The Runner rolled up to the edge to have a look, at which point I had a really awesome idea: I would just go ride it.
So I did. Butt over the back seat, rear brake feathered, front brake untouched.
I got to the edge of the drop and saw — to my relief and pleasure — that it was not beyond my ability. Not even close, really. So I rode it, then stopped and scooped up and threw leaves into the air, while thumping my chest and shouting “Ook Ook OOOOK.”
And then for the rest of the trail, whenever there were markings saying that the trail was easier in one direction and harder in another, I’d take the harder direction. Hoping to impress my woman.
I did all this, by the way, after we had been married, meaning that — I think — I had done all the mate-attracting stunts necessary.
Which just goes to show — and I believe I may not be the first person to assert this — men are dumb.
I could point out, by the way, that none of this was anywhere near as dumb as — having finally recovered from hip flexor pain that lasted a month and prevented me from running even once in weeks — I went ahead and did a half-marathon-distance run with The Runner the next day, just to show that I’m every bit as smart as a bar of soap.